(NEW YORK) — A federal grand jury in New York has returned a sweeping indictment against United States Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, in connection with improper foreign relations and business dealings.
The investigation focused on a luxury car, gold bars and an apartment allegedly received by Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian. His wife was also indicted.
The indictment charges Menendez, 69, and his wife with having a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen — Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daides.
The indictment accuses Menendez and his wife of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using the senator’s power and influence to seek to protect and enrich the businessman.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment said.
This is the second time New Jersey’s senior senator has been charged with corruption. A 2015 indictment ended in a mistrial in 2018 after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts and a judge acquitted him on some charges.
The previous charges against Menendez centered on his relationship with Florida eye doctor Solomon Melgen, a close ally of the senator. Menendez allegedly accepted gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his senate office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interests.
In June 2022, federal agents searched Menendez’s New Jersey home and found “fruits” of the pair’s “corrupt bribery agreement” with the three businessmen, according to the indictment. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash, some stuffed in envelopes and hidden in clothing, as well as $70,000 in Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box.
Also found in the home were over $100,000 worth of gold bars, “provided by either Hana or Daibes,” according to the indictment.
Menendez allegedly gave sensitive U.S. government information “that secretly aided the Government of Egypt” and “improperly advised and pressured” a U.S. agricultural official to protect an exclusive contract for Hana to be the exclusive purveyor of halal meat to Egypt, according to the indictment.
Menendez also tried to disrupt a criminal investigation into a second businessman in the trucking industry that had been undertaken by the New Jersey attorney general, the indictment said.
The senator is also accused of recommending someone to the president to be the U.S. attorney in New Jersey who he thought he could influence.
Menendez appears to be the first senator to ever be indicted on two unrelated criminal charges while in office, according to the Senate Historical Office.
All five individuals are due in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 27.
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